Insects

Bee Bread

I’m sitting in front of the woodstove and the snow is falling. So goes spring! Yesterday, was windy but warm and sunny and the honeybees were doing the best that they could to gather pollen from early blooming trees and flowers. I could not resist to, yet again, try to get the perfect shot of the blue pollen that the bees gather from the tiny Siberian Squill.

At our Chester County Beekeepers meeting last night, we had a speaker talking to us about bee nutrition. The bees need the protein that comes in the form of pollen as well as the sugar in nectar. The pollen is not eaten directly. It is carried into the hive on the bodies of the foraging bees. It is mixed with saliva and nectar and packed into the cells as bee bread. The recipe is slightly fermented with lactobacillus which comes from the gut of the bees. That fermentation process makes the food more stable and resistant to pathogens. It, also, assists in breaking down the cell walls of the pollen to make it more digestible. I’m sharing a link from an amazing article about bee bread coming from Nordic Food Lab. Such creative minds! The young worker bees eat the bee bread so that they can produce royal jelly from glands in their head. That royal jelly is critical in feeding the young larvae in the brood. Without this nutrition, the hive produces weak bees and begins to function poorly. Our hives are producing lots of worker bees already.

 

 

Categories: Beekeeping, Herbaceous Plants, Insects | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Wings of lace

I was very pleased to see this green lacewing on the coneflowers while I was photographing honey bees. Lacewings are a beneficial insect in a garden and as beautiful as any flower! This one was, most likely, feeding from the nectar of the flower along with the honey bees. It is the larvae of the lacewing that eats up soft-bodied insects such as aphids and caterpillars in the garden. They will, also, eat the larvae of other insects. To attract lacewings, you might want to plant (or allow to grow) flowers in the Asteraceae family such as sunflowers, dandelion, and cosmos and the Apiaceae family such as dill and angelica.

lacewing

 

 

Categories: Herbaceous Plants, Insects, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Bagworm

Just a quick note on a new find.

bagworm

In the periphery of my attention, they looked like dead blossoms.  But, wait…that makes no sense. Big dead blossoms on my gooseberries? On my fruit trees? On my witch hazel? Only recently, did I investigate what appeared to be a cocoon of some kind. Sure enough it is the, nicely camouflaged, home of Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis, the bagworm. Here is a brief but very informative page about the insect from Penn State Extension.  I removed the, very firmly attached, bagworm cases as the insect can be destructive to the plant.

Categories: Insects | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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